New Americans in the Harrisonburg MSA

New research from New American Economy shows that immigrant households in the Harrisonburg metro area earned over $257 million in 2016 and contributed $37.9 million to federal taxes and $19.8 million to state and local taxes. The report was prepared in partnership with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, City of Harrisonburg, and James Madison University.

In addition to their financial contributions, our report shows the foreign-born population’s contributions to the Harrisonburg workforce, as well as their role in staving off population decline. One in 10 immigrants are entrepreneurs, and foreign-born individuals are 12.6 percent more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to start a business. And without 73 percent growth in the region’s immigrant population between 2011 and 2016, Harrisonburg would have seen the overall population decline by nearly a full percentage point instead of increasing by over 3 percent.

The brief, New Americans in the Harrisonburg MSA, is available for download here. Read the complete profiles for Kenia Lopez and Usman Chaudhri, two immigrants in the Harrisonburg metro area.

Our key findings include:

  • Immigrant households in the Harrisonburg metro area earned $257.2 million in 2016. Of that, foreign-born households contributed $9 million in federal taxes and $19.8 million in state and local taxes. They were left with $199.4 million in spending power.
  • Between 2011 and 2016, the population in the Harrisonburg metro area grew by 3.3 percent. The immigrant population grew by 73.2 percent, while the U.S.-born population declined by 1.0 percent. If not for the foreign-born population, the area would have experienced population decline.
  • Immigrants contributed $780.5 million to the metro area’s GDP, accounting for 10 percent of the total GDP.
  • Immigrants account for 13.8 percent of the area’s entrepreneurs. Despite making up just 9.7 percent of the overall population, immigrants represented 8 percent of entrepreneurs in Harrisonburg in 2016. This makes them 12.6 percent more likely than the U.S.-born to be entrepreneurs.
  • Immigrants represented 12.1 percent of the area’s working age population. Foreign-born individuals represented 12.1 percent of the working-age population and 12.5 percent of its employed labor force.
  • Over one-third of immigrants and refugees in the metro—or over 4,000 individuals— were naturalized citizens in 2016. Sixteen percent of the non-citizen population were likely eligible to naturalize.

Access the complete brief here.

About Us

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…